Independent MP Alex Greenwich has introduced a bill to ban LGBTQIA+ conversion practices in NSW.
The bill would create new standalone legislation to ban change or suppression practices (sometimes known as conversion therapy) and is based on a law in Victoria.
The proposed ban on conversion practices was introduced alongside another bill aimed at increasing protections for LGBTQIA+ people.
The bill defines conversion or suppression practices as sustained efforts to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Evidence suggests that survivors of these practices commonly experience complex, chronic trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Around 10% of LGBTQIA+ Australians are vulnerable to conversion practices, according to a report published by the Human Rights Law Centre and La Trobe University in 2018.
The legislation includes criminal offences for people who advertise conversion practices or take someone outside of NSW to undergo conversion practices.
The bill also recognises harm from these practices as grounds for ordering apprehended domestic or personal violence orders.
Receiving a person’s consent for treatment would not be a defence to criminal punishment.
Private prayers or expressing religious beliefs to an individual is not considered a change or suppression practice under the bill.
The bill also excludes health practitioners who provide trauma-informed support to those discovering their gender or sexuality or who offer professional judgment in accordance with healthcare standards.
Will the bill pass?
The NSW Government has started consultation on its own bill to outlaw conversion practices. It is not clear if the Government will support Greenwich’s legislation alongside introducing its own bill.
Opposition Leader Mark Speakman said this week he could support any bill until he saw the text.